Sim Lim Square's landlords seek change in laws to oust errant tenants

Sim Lim Square's management council members (from second left): vice-chairman Kwek Theng Swee, chairman Raymond Chua, managing agent Chan Kok Hong, assistant secretary Sunny Chew and other council members at yesterday's press conference to address is
Sim Lim Square's management council members (from second left): vice-chairman Kwek Theng Swee, chairman Raymond Chua, managing agent Chan Kok Hong, assistant secretary Sunny Chew and other council members at yesterday's press conference to address issues related to tackling the mall's errant tenants.ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN

Sim Lim management council can then act to end rental agreements

Landlords at Sim Lim Square are hoping for changes in the law so they can set up their own rules to allow them to reject undesirable tenants.

This was one of the issues raised at a press conference yesterday, held by the electronics mall's management council, which is made up of 13 people who own units there.

The electronics mall, which has come under scrutiny for a small number of shops there practising questionable sales tactics, has about 480 shops owned by a few hundred landlords.

Most rental agreements are negotiated between landlords and tenants, and the management is currently not able to kick out recalcitrant shops.

Thus, they hope the laws will change so that Sim Lim Square's management council could possibly pass a by-law to terminate the tenancy agreements of unscrupulous retailers.

Said Mr Kwek Theng Swee, vice-chairman of the council: "The information technology sector has grown more competitive now with a lot of trade fairs and constant product launches. This has put high pressure on retailers and made them resort to such unscrupulous methods."

He added that this is limited to around 10 shops which have been blacklisted by the Consumers Association of Singapore for having a high number of complaints made against them.

The owners of these units have been informed of the unfair practices of their tenants, said Mr Kwek. But he did not say if they will throw these tenants out of the mall.

Said Mr Sunny Chew, the council's assistant secretary: "We need the authorities to take action so that we can weed out these shops. In the last five years, we have not been able to find a permanent solution."

The black sheep, while a minority, have affected the reputation of the mall, leading to lower footfalls.

Competition from electronics malls such as Funan as well as online retailers Lazada and Amazon have also hit business there.

Mr Vikas Gupta, 27, the manager of the group Sim City, which owns around 40 shop units in Sim Lim Square, said: "When such incidents happen, the effect is that shops here become emptier. The IT sector is also gradually fading."

cherylw@sph.com.sg